Varuna (2000 WR106) was discovered in 2000 and given designation minor planet 20,000 — a big honour for the discoverers R. S. McMillan and J. A. Larsen. This was the first planet beyond Pluto to get a name. [It was not the first discovered — that was 1992 QB1, which has not yet been named.] Varuna has an orbital period of 282 years. Varuna is a mighty god, one of the supreme creation deities of pre-Vedic history, still revered today by many, and this was a landmark astronomical discovery, in part because of its size. The energy of Varuna is that which is too large to comprehend. In this respect, it has some attributes of the 12th house — the house of overwhelming or incomprehensible aspects of life that act out of sight or in the deep background. One astrologer who has done some interesting work with Varuna is Juan Revilla of Costa Rica. In an email conversation a few years ago, Juan explained to me his interpretation that Varuna is quite literally “behind everything” — a potent and ominous force lingering in the far reaches of our lives. Among the many deities who have had planets and asteroids named for them, Varuna’s energy seems closest to what we think of as God, the all-knowing cosmic entity that exists silently behind consciousness and events. Varuna (now in Cancer) also deals with the punishment of liars and those who violate contracts. In earlier times, mortals who did not keep their word would meet his wrath. He could bestow immortality as well. Astrological associations noted by Revilla include the impersonal laws of nature (as opposed to human nature) and the incomprehensible cosmic order (as opposed to the order of society). Questions of the gain and loss of reputation, and the issue of immortality through fame, seem inevitable with this planet. My phrase for Varuna is, “the great equalizer.”

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